Sunday, 18 June 2006

I owe you one, Pak!

The answer to Kak Cik’s question that had been plaguing me since my return from the Holy City, came in a flash just as I was folding the mat after Subuh prayers. I knew then that I’ve got the right answer and I don’t have to feel so bad now.

During our conversation after my one week Umrah, Kak Cik asked whether anyone who looked like Pak appeared before me at all. I said no. And deep inside I was disappointed as Kak Cik continued her story that during her Haj, someone who looked remarkeably like Pak appeared before her almost every day. So, why was I denied this? I have heard that things like this do happen in Mekah, but no one who looked anything remotely like Pak appeared. In fact, when she was in the Masjidil Haram after finishing her Quran, she looked up to find someone who looked like Tok. I never had this experience and I was beginning to feel a tad denied. Didn't know there was any favouritism in the family. May be a week was too short for anyone to make any appearance.

But now I have my answer. The very reason Pak appeared before Kak Cik was that Kak Cik was the only one who was not present when Pak left us. We were all there, all around him. Kak was there, so was Abang, Lilah and of course Ajie, still so young and already losing Pak. I remember that day so well. I had been called home as Pak wasn’t getting any better, but when I arrived Pak could still talk. He asked, “Where’s Kak Cik?” and I replied, "Her plane will be landing at four". Pak adjusted his glasses, looked up at the old clock that he religiously wound every other day and simply said, “Tak sempat dah”. True enough, he went at two and Kak Cik arrived a little too late. The same explanation for Tok’s appearance. Kak Cik was in Mekah when Tok left us.

Pak himself never made it to Mekah. He had been ill all his life but Mak made sure that she performed the Haj on his behalf during one of her trips there. But I remembered him in my doa as I stood there before the Ka'abah and I prayed that his soul is placed amongst those blessed.

When I think about Pak I think about unresolved issues – there were things I wish Pak had done for me and there were things that I wish I had done for him. I never had the kind of Pak who would accompany his kids to tuition or take them to the park. And I remember how I ached for that but knew the impossibility of it all. Pak hardly left the house after his accident, and it was really not his fault. But I remember feeling pangs of jealousy whenever I see friends being driven by their fathers. But Pak made up for all these in other ways. He waited for us while we watched late night movies on telly and switched off the lights while we scrambled into bed and pulled the blankets over our heads. Once or twice in the middle of the night, Pak would come into the bedroom and cover us again with the blankets that had slipped on to the floor. Once, he came just in time to see the blanket nearly on fire after falling on to a burning mosquito coil.

He also rescued us from housework by helping Mak in the kitchen and even signed our report cards without his glasses on! He’d repeat his war time stories as we sat by his couch listening for the umpteenth time how he rescued a young British soldier from the advancing Japanese party. We got used to the smell of his Curve Cut tobbaco and took turns to put Tokohon plasters on his aching back.

Pak was a product of the colonial system and demanded that we spoke and wrote in English all the time. Our letters were corrected in red and returned and we read and read anything and everything that had writings on them. We fought over the newspaper to finish the crossword puzzles and he finished my badly turned out scones that I made in Domestic Science class. I remember that I was in tears when the scones turned out all hard. But Pak ate them all.

All these Pak did for me and I couldn’t even fulfil his one simple wish. Everytime we told him that we were going to town to buy the latest songs on record, he’d ask for Sri Mersing. “Get me Sri Mersing,” he’d holler as we cycled fast past the front gates. Of course we didn’t get him Sri Mersing. It was so.. so, ...er uncool. We’d be searching for the Beatles or Engelbert Humperdink and heaven helped us if anyone heard us asking for Sri Mersing!

So, that is one regret. Hmmm, no wonder Pak didn’t want to see me.

Anyway, Pak would have been pleased to know I am where I am now. I left four years after he left us and I brought with me, in that one suitcase of memories, a small piece of his blanket, still smelling of Curve Cut Tobacco and Tokohon plasters.

PS
Pak would have loved this rendition of Sri Mersing by Siti Nurhaliza. Thanks MA.

51 comments:

anggerik merah said...

Kak Teh dear, your Pak's soul will be smiling if he read this.

ubisetela said...

*AlFatehah*

Manal said...

kak teh, this is another torture to my eyes....how dare u wrote such stories that would only invoke all those flash of memories and keinsafan....i tengah sebak ni tau...no matter how hard i tried to skip reading those type of entry in ur blog, i just seemed to fail to do so. Easy manal, easy....But hey, it's good to know u r taking things with , probably more than, a pinch of salt. Happy father's day.

Kak Teh said...

AM, my Pak loved all asli songs and I am kicking myself for not buyinghim that record.
Ubi - thanks.
Manal - arghhhhhh! yes - that's the only way to handle it.

MA said...

*puff*

*pant*

*lari-lari sambil kesat peluh*

OK, done ! Song sudah uploaded.

:-)

Kak Teh said...

thanks MA - appreciate it.

baity said...

Salam Kak Teh, alhamdulillah Kak Teh dah selamat kembali. Ayah ME gi Haji naik kapal laut dan unta!...ME terus merindui keTanah Suci waima pun berkali2 pegi...Ya Allah Ya Tuhan ku, jangan jadikan ziarah ku ini ziarah terakhir.....
I missed my ayah...,first time gi Umrah ngan arwah mak...pastu tiap2 kali gi mesti sayu ingat mak...dan laluan kami bersama semasa diTanah Suci.
Mak Ety

Dizery said...

Kak Teh, welcome back from your umrah! I'm with Manal, in terms of how touched I am by this post. Makes me think I should call my father more often.

baity said...

Kak Teh, I love Seri Mersing dan lagu-lagu yang sewaktu dengan nya....
Mak Ety

LifeBloom said...

K Teh

Glad you had a safe umrah. But sad sebab tak dapat jumpa K Teh. InsyaAllah another time.

A lovely post to accompany June 18th. Which of course is Father's Day.

atenah said...

I dreamt of my Opah while I was in Medina. She only came to my dreams twice.

Mama Rock said...

"...and there were things that I wish I had done for him"...this is something I've ever terkilan till now after my Abah left us. Semoga tuhan mencucuri rahmat katas roh-roh bapa2 yang telah pergi, Al-Fatehah.

AuntyN said...

The first time I went to perform the umrah was with my parents. My ayah put me, my SIL and 2nd brother to shame. He finished all his umrah first while we were still panting to do our saie. He did his tawaf and his saie in half the time we did ours. He was 70 and there I was in my forties.

Kak Teh, I was not close to my father until he the last years of his life. Not really much stories to relfect of the old days, on how good a father he was to us us. But InsyaAllah, both our arwah fathers will be placed with the blessed.

Kak Teh said...

baity, kak teh pergi sekejap sangat -0 rasanya macam tak puas - cuma seminggu. Insyaallah, diharapkan bukanlah itu yang terakhir. Memang kak teh doa supaya diberikan rezki untuk pulang ke sana bersama suami dan anak-anak pula.
diz, yes, the problem is we do take for granted, kan? You've still got him and I know that he is one swell of a father - call him more often.

fatihah said...

ah, yes, welcome back KT. hope u had a nice trip. =)

Kak Teh said...

lifebloom, itried replying yr email, tapi terbounce balik. Yes, it was such a hectic time when i was there, what with Mak not well and in hospital. Then my one week in Mekah and Madinah. So, it wasnt the typical holiday. Insyaalllah next time.
Atenah, that is a good sign too, kan?
mama rock, we tend to take people around us for granted when they are alive and when they are gone, there's lots of regrets. But we never learn.
N, he finished first -and he was 70? wow! My father had loads of stories to tell and as he was always at home, we felt very close to him.

Ordinary Superhero said...

Kak Teh, welcome back. The torture of checking on your blog without new entry has been too much to bear.
Yes, on the Father's Day, I missed my late father just like I missed my late mum on the Mother's Day.

Personally, I never entertain any kind of thought 'what if i could have done this or that etc. doing their lifetime.' I'm forever grateful for the blessings having had them as my parents and for whatever I have done during their lifetime - good or bad (hopefully more good than the bad ones).

anedra said...

i love yr stories of the Tok Wan I never knew cos as u know, I was born 7 days after he left us. But I've always known that he was grandpa that I'd be crazy about had I had the chance to get to know him!

and yr reasoning as to why mama saw him so many times in Mekah..- makes sense!

AuntieYan. said...

Kak Teh, bila nak cerita pasal Umrah kat Mekah tuh?....dok tunggu nih....;-)

mommy@lif said...

kak teh, sebak rasanya baca entry nih.. saya baru hantar parents ke sek pondok di kelate sabtu lepas. lepas hantar diorg, saya balik kg bersama adik beradik yg lain. tapi bila sampai, rumah rasa kosong je.. sebab parents saya nun di kelate.. itu parents saya masih ada pon dah rasa 'kosong' sayu je hati. tak dapat saya bayangkan kalau diorg takde al fatihah utk Pak kak teh..

Kak Teh said...

OSH - y, i supposed u are right - but I wished i had done more - cant help that feeling.
fatihah - thanks - yes, I did. Alhamdulillah.
Anedra - yes, it makes sense - It never occured to me before. Oh, you would have loved him and his stories.
Auntieyan - nanti nak cerita - kena satu hari yang tenang dulu. La ni dok mengantuk sangat.
alif's mommy, bagus lah u masih ada dua-dua mak dan bapa. Enjoy yr time with them.

Restless said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Restless said...

This entry is one of the few that reminds me of my duties to my parents. Need to response to it immediately - high time.

K Teh - Can you change my previous address to this one? Asyik tukar aje, nyusahkan orang aje saya ni... Thanks!

Lydia Teh said...

Lovely father's day tribute, KT. Any suggestions from you for my new book title?

pu1pu3 said...

lovely entry as always KT,
welcome back.sayang tak sempat jumpa, tapi takpe.next time, k?mana tahu i get to go there again, jumpa la skali lagi..kan?Glad you had a lovely time kat mekkah.take care.

Nazrah said...

brilliant, absolutely brilliant tribute.

Kak Teh said...

restless, i will certainly do it - hope u are well.
Lydia, thanks . I have thought abt it and I have some ideas...will drop u a line.
puteri, memang chaotic masa balik tu and I spent mosttime with Mak.
nazrah- thankssssss!!!

5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

Kak Teh, I can almost feel your Pak humming to Sri Mersing up there in the wonderful land, however we call it. I am one of those who have very strong faith in seeing our dearly departed one. *hugs, and sniff*

MakNenek said...

this is weird. i just dreamt of my father yesterday. now i know why! father's day rupanya! may allah bless the soul of your Pak, kak teh!

simah said...

kak teh..u r back!! *hugs*..

memang torturous baca entry sedih mcm ni.. Al fatihah to ur pak..i am sure pak kak teh if he is alive now..he will be proud of u now.. and the doas that u sent to him must have made his days even in alam barzakh..

Ahmad said...

Mashallah a nice blog you have, and so lucky to have gone for Umrah.
Pls pray Allah takes me there soon also.
Pls take a look at my blog and link it up here if you think it of benefit.
Wasalam

sya said...

Kak Teh.. Al Fatihah utk Pak

JoKontan said...

Waaah ada post baruuuuu.

Bila baca postings macam nii, saya selalu terbayang in 30-40 years in the future, my dothers will reminisce (sp) something like this.

Also, I have the chance to improve myself. Mebbe carefully undo whatever ppl have done in their lifetime.


Al-Fatehah

Kak Teh said...

Lilian - I dont know what I will do if i really meet 'someone' from the other side! perhaps run screaming!
maknenek, ha! was he trying to say anything. Baca Al Fatehah.
simah, i have been meaning to write to you abt something - will do so soon.

Kak Teh said...

ahmad, i did take a look at your blog. really nice. will visit again and thanks for visiting mine.
sya, thanks.
jokontan, am sure your children have wonderful times with you that they will treasure for life. and bapa-bapa zaman sekarang are closer to their children and not afraid of showing their feelings.

Mama Irma said...

Kak Teh, when I did my Haj, my aruah dad came in my dream before subuh prayers inviting me to do tawaf with him! I did the Tawaf after that subuh prayers with tears streaming right down to my telekong!

edelweis said...

Alhamdulillah, I've found a good blog site that really touched my heart :)

Thanks Kak Teh

simah said...

will be waiting..:0) am so glad that u r back..ur kids pon mesti best sebab tukang masak family dah balik hehehehe

bergen said...

It's nice to have a father.

UglyButAdorable said...

kak teh, welcome back and superpb entry as always...semoga Pak's soul dicucuri rahmat...amin

Kak Teh said...

mama irma, i am speechless! How I wish i had such experience! But i did dream of my son who had a fall. immediately I telefon dia!
edelweis, thanks for visiting and thanks for the mail too.
simah, terkejut kan?
bergen, like I said, he was a wonderful chap.
UbA, yes i am back and waiting for my strength to come back to me (macam lost luggage saja!0 so that I can continue with work, blog (blog and blog!) again!

tee said...

*he raised u well, kak teh... *al-fatihah*

Lollies said...

Oh bless his soul for such wonderful children. Al Fatehah

Kak Teh said...

tee and lollies, thanks for kind words.

Moon® said...

Welcome back kak teh, memang torturous nak membaca entry ni. Alfatehah untuk pak.

Blabs said...

KT, this is beautiful. I especially love that bit about the scones. If you ask me, that was fatherly love at it's best. You were blessed to have a father like him.

Kak Lady said...

al-fatihah buat Pak kak Teh yang telah pergi...moga rohnya di tempatkan ditempat orang2 yang beriman...

Jasa dan kasih sayang ayah tak pernah luput dari ingatan kita anak2 mereka....

Kak Teh...kat blog lady ade letak lagu Sanisah Huri...(Sejak Ku Bertemu Dgnmu...lagu lama tu..nostalgia betul)

bisutulibuta said...

Kak Oi..mana kurma nabi ? nak rasa sikit.

Sunflora said...

Kakteh Alhamdullilah you managed to perform your umrah and Insyallah there will be more trips to come.

So did you experience anything different?

Hope your Mak is much better.

Din Teksi said...

who's the original singer of singer Sri Mersing .. If you don't mind me asking? nice touchy entry you have here. I feel for you!

Anonymous said...

dear KakTeh, me too was not there when my Pak passed away, when I arrived, he was already properly buried. And now I wonde, will I see him in the Holy Land...hopefully...thanks for this lovely text and i enjoy reading your blog.belle